I have been a fan of Jack Del Rio since he came to Jacksonville, well no more. Yesterday's game, which I attended, was embarassing for many reasons. One, the paltry attendance by fans, does anybody remember when Jacksonville was trying to get a professional team? One thing that was consistently repeated in the media was that Jacksonville was a hick fly over town in Florida and that we would not support a professional franchise....Well, we are proving them right. We have the third cheapest tickets in the NFL, a nice stadium and a well designed transportation network to get fans to and from the game quickly. Yet, we don't attend. There are all kinds of excuses; its too hot, its too crowded, theres no shade, beer is too expensive, food is too expensive, I don't like (insert; Del Rio, Leftwich, Garrard, play calling, etc), and the team sucks in general. You cannot argue the mediocre product that was fielded by the Jaguars last year and probably again this year, but in this market if you are a fan and can afford it, you should attend the games. This is small market football with a team that does not have the safety of a great tradition in one place. If we don't start attending Jaguars games in larger numbers this team is going to leave. I don't think they will leave this year or the next, but when the labor contract is renegotiated (approximately three years from now, I think) we should be getting very nervous. At that point the economy will have hopefully recovered or at least begun to recover and LA will probably begin to get a new stadium sorted out, since there is blood in the water.....Unfortunately, all these arguments are falling on already sympathetic ears here at Big Cat Country, I suspect that if you read this site and others like, all of the above has already been stated. And rabid Jacksonville fans are attending if they have the means.
Two, the product that took the field on Sunday was an embarassment. It has already been stated in other posts and by various sportswriters, so I am not going to beat a dead horse. But, the Jaguars once again followed up a good showing against a strong opponent (the Colts) by coming out and dying on the field. This seems to have become the trademark of the Del Rio era here, strong game one weekend, lay down and die the next. It is time for a change here, I do not believe that Del Rio is a bad coach, but I do believe that his methods and tactics have failed and they they are falling upon deaf ears in the locker room.
Three, there has been no consistency in the assistant coaching here since the Coughlin era. Del Rio has been hiring and firing coaches every year and not just one or two coaches. Rumors have begun to pop up that Del Rio is a difficult man to work for and with. There have been reports that his mood can shift wildly, which makes doing any kind of a job difficult at best and miserable at worst. The constant rotation of coaches and play books through the locker room must make the players' heads spin, especially now that we are in a youth movement and bringing in rookies and inexperienced players.
By the end of the game yesterday I was firmly in the camp of "Fire Del Rio". It was an uninspired and unprepared team that took the field yesterday. Not that victory was guaranteed against Kurt Warner and Boldin, just to name a few. The Jaguars faced a very good team yesterday, that everybody knew could exploit the weaknesses of the Jaguars, which they did, to perfection.
Rightly or wrongly the Jaguars now have a massive Shack Harris hangover. The personnel that take the field from his time here are in general weak, while there have been a few bright spots, but overall weak. If Reggie Williams and Matt Jones had worked out, things may be different, but they didn't. At the end of the day Del Rio is responsible for the performance of this team and the intensity and hard hitting that used to be a Jaguar trademark are gone. Del Rio is a coach that is barely above .500 after being with us since 2003, which is basically not acceptable at this point. It is time for the Jaguars to continue their rebuilding mode and bring in new coaching.